Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Word of advice to a prayerful young car salesman



Scott  _ _ _ _ _
XXX Holden Hill Rd.
Langdon, NH 03602

Dear Scott,

I’m one of your neighbors to whom you sent your letter announcing your new position as salesman at the Toyota dealership in Keene. I live just down the hill at the “Camel Ranch.”  Congratulations and good luck on your new career. 

Interestingly, your timing is propitious since my wife and I are about to replace her aging 2001 Nissan Altima.. Even more coincidental, while I have traditionally purchased my cars from Nissan of Keene (a neighbor being the dealership owner, as you probably are aware) a friend suggested I look into the Toyota Camry.  Note that I said coincidental, not a miracle, nor part of God’s plan, not even an answer to your prayers- which brings me to the reason for this letter.  I have some advice to offer.

I’m presuming you’re young.  Then again compared to me most people are.  I surmised this for two reasons: first, because you just did a hitch in the Air Force and didn’t mention that it was a career choice; and second because your letter was... well... unpolished. But that’s forgivable.  The fact that you took the initiative to reach out and promote your self to friends, neighbors and relatives to try and develop a clientele is admirable.

But you made a misstep in your closing paragraph that comes close to being unforgivable. I’m not entirely sure what you meant by “My prayers and heartfelt appreciation is with you.”  

You see, Scott, I don’t want your prayers.  I didn’t ask for your prayers. I dismiss prayer as both silly and a waste of time.  I can’t even imagine what you would pray for, and to whom, on behalf of a complete stranger who you’ve never met.  I also don’t think you are genuinely praying for me, or for the other complete strangers and prospective clients to whom you sent your letter.  My educated guess is that it was an empty and meaningless knee-jerk platitude.

I don’t care if you just assumed it was a harmless nicety; or that it was heartfelt because of a religious upbringing; or whether it is something the Air Force taught you - their propensity for attempts at religious indoctrination of airmen having been widely reported.  Religious references have no place in a business letter; that is unless you’re selling Bibles, religious paraphernalia, actual pieces of the True Cross, or a time share in Jesus’ tomb.  It’s simply inappropriate.  It won’t endear you to the already religious because they know it’s an empty platitude since they use it themselves. But it can alienate you from reasoned and thinking people who reject religion as nonsensical pap at best; a world wide evil at worst.

I was [  ]
ß this far from throwing your letter in the trash and bypassing Toyota altogether.  But I will put aside your inadvertent offense born of your being a business neophyte and likely completely unaware of how insipid your prayer reference comes across.  I will not hold it against you.

When my wife and I come to your dealership we will ask for you.  Calm yourself Scott.   It is not an answer to your prayers. The Hindu god Ganesh is the god of good fortune, and I doubt he is on your list of prayed to deities.    If my non-belief is an impediment to your selling me a car pass me onto another salesman who knows how to differentiate between earning a living, and promulgating their delusion. Just be sure you keep your religion, prayers, and offer of an extended warranty to yourself.

[[[Note:  I haven't sent this letter...yet.  Mrs. Hump threatened to turn me into a gelding camel if I do.  Weighing the cost benefits.]]]]


19 comments:

NewEnglandBob said...

Go with Honda, instead of a fictitious deity.

Jim Hudlow said...

Mrs. Hump speaks softly and carries a big snipper....if you send that letter you may never sleep again. And still I know you are seriously considering it. Put on a cup and mail that puppy!!

Elizabeth Anne Turner said...

Excellent response to an inappropriate business solicitation. You, however are more charitable than I. When I moved to Nashia I received a similar solicitation from J is L (Jesus is Lord) Auto service. I rolled my eyes, threw the letter away and never patronized that business, for fear that I would have to listen to his sermons.

Sara T said...

Do it! Do it!

Joyce said...

Bart, I think it was just a nicety on his part and not a reason to knock him because it thought it was a kind thing to do. I remember a conversation that we had a couple of years ago and that if my response to something tragic you may have shared with me (it was a hypothtetical situation), that if I responded with "I'm so sorry, I'll be praying for you" that you would understand that it meant that I was wishing you well and that you would understand that and simply respond with something like "Thanks for thinking of me", knowing that I meant no harm but only hoped for the best outcome for you because I care about you. I know that you also care about me and would realize that my response was one of love and that you wouldn't criticize for me because you know me and well, praying is what I do. My reply would have been sincere since you understand my beliefs and you would overlook and understand it because you recognized my love and my caring about your situation. As you told me, you'd thank me for keeping you in my thoughts and leave it at that, recognizing that my reply was one of concern and love.

I'm sure that this man meant no harm and made his remark either as a matter of habit or because he meant it. Either way, I'm sure he meant no harm and although you don't agree with his remark, I have no doubt he made it with nothing but respect, not reralizing your beliefs.

As the wise and kind man and friend that I know you to be, a comment to a man who meant to be kind benefits neither of you to make your proposed comment. I'd simply take it as him making an effort to be kind and would just ignore it. He's probably a kind man as you are -- you just have different beliefs and that shouldn't affect the business that you do together.

Some battles need to be picked. I don't think this is a battle that needs to be fought. Do your business, and if he gives you a fair deal then thank him and leave it at that.

I don't believe his intent was to proselytize you, but just to be kind. Don't read too much into it. Some of us (referring to us who are believers) just respond as we're accustomed to. We mean no harm. I don't think this man meant any either. Again, choose your battles. I don't think this is one of them.

Dromedary Hump said...

Bob... I don't want to hurt the guy, just want to educate him.

Jim..I dunno, my wife is pretty stealthy. ;)

Elizabeth.. I don't think the dealership even knows about this guy's letter. He sent it from his home. So I don't blame them for this...just Scott's ignorance.

Joyce... big difference between including religious indoctrination and meaningless platitudes in a social correspondence, and in a business solicitation.

I dare say if you got a letter inviting your business that said: "I'm sacrificing a chicken to Moloch on your behalf" or "I''ll fuck a sheep on behalf of Allah for you." my guess is you'd think "wow, that's pretty fucked up and inappropriate." You may even explain why to the offender.
It's in the eye of the beholder. To a Moloch worshiper, or sheep fucking Muslim , no biggie.

To a Xtian, meaningless christian gibberish between xtians stemming from their mutual indoctrination may be just a nicety. But to thinking people it is annoying, stupid, and off putting; indicative of a person who is too stupid to know this. It's a "habit" he needs to break.

BTW Joyce, if you're really NOT praying for people why say it? Why this bullshit platitude, this make believe piety, that you and the recipient know is a lie..and why justify it?

Dromedary Hump said...

One last thought on this Joyce:

I'm trying to think of a secular/free thinker platitude that would be on a par with the insipid Xtian "You're in my prayers" or "I'll pray for you."

What if we signed our business correspondence with:
"I'll read a chapter of Darwin's Origin of Species , and Hitchens' God is NOT Great for you." Or
"I'll be thinking of Carl Sagan and Richard Dawkins on your behalf." ??

It would be equally stupid, thoughtless and off putting as "I'll pray for you." It may not offend you, but it would make you think: "What a jerky thing to write." I know I'd think so.

Get it?

Geoffrey Olive said...

On a similar note, I saw a tractor trailer on the road (heading south!) that had in big letters "Trucking for Jesus" on the sides.
As a business slogan, it makes one wonder what anyone would think if this was applied to other situations. The porn industry could have "Fucking for Jesus"; erectile dysfunction medication could have "Horning for Jesus"; the Catholic church could have "Abusing and Molesting for Jesus", and so on.

Another point, though not directly linked to this topic, is the notion of Catholic priests, monks and nuns being 'married to God' and by extension from the ridiculous Holy Trinity, to Jesus as well. How hypocritical is this when they condemn gay marriage. For priests and monks, isn't this gay marriage? And for nuns, isn't this just bigamy/polygamy on an enormous scale?

Geoff Olive
Bear, Delaware

Anonymous said...

Hump,

I think you'd be doing him a service by sending the letter. Then he'll know that these Christian niceties annoy some customers and are not appropriate in a business environment. As you indicated, not everyone desires to be prayed for. Not everyone wants things said to them that make no sense. He can convey his friendliness and good will without religious phrases.

And of course you'd give him this good advice w/o his employer knowing, so as not to embarrass him.

Anonymous said...

I would find such a letter only a bit less offensive than the two elderly ladies who appeared at my front door on a recent mid-morning. They were both carrying prominently displayed bibles, so their intent was pretty obvious. I simply said "This is an atheist household; good bye!" and closed the door. They turned and looked at each other--apparently in utter shock--for several seconds before walking back to their car, where they sat for several more minutes with their heads bowed before finally driving off.
I'm not sure whether they were praying for me or not, but I suspect they thought they were doing "the lord's work," in any case. I don't need or want to be included in anyone's "prayers."

Cephus said...

Many years ago, my wife and I bought a car from a local Ford dealership and for years, we were spammed with religious junk mail from the salesman that sold us the car. We complained about it, he ignored us. We complained to the dealership, they said they had no control over what their salesmen did, even though he was sending out material in their envelopes. We took to just trashing anything that came from their dealership and I don't know that I've seen anything come in for a while.

Exactly what hardcore fundamentalist fire-and-brimstone religious tracts have to do with selling cars, I'll never know.

gerard26 said...

The religious just do not know how arrogant-perhaps they do-those kinds of meaningless statements makes nonbelivers and rationalist want to cringe.After a day of being bombarded by nonsensical religious utterances, and I know the community I live-in percolates with religious types, to read it in a business correspondence is even more enraging.Thanks Hump, for speaking truth to the continuing faith-based nonsense in our country.

Shaw Kenawe said...

“My prayers and heartfelt appreciation is with you.”

In addition to being highly inappropriate in a business letter, the above is grammatically incorrect. Major FAIL on two counts.

I vote to send it.

Chatpilot said...

To a non-thinking theists these matters may seem trivial. But these little things do mean a lot to us non-believers and independent thinkers.

On one of my visits to my mother in Connecticut I invited her to dinner to anywhere she wanted to go. She suggested a new Spanish diner that she swore was the best Spanish food in town! I assented, and when I got there I was surprised to know that the owner was a fundamentalist Pentecostal puke!

He had religious tracts on the counter and every other word out of his mouth was thank God or praise Jesus! I bought the food to go and left and told my mom that I would never go back there again.

Business and religion should never mix. I like you Hump agree that it is inappropriate and unprofessional.

Anonymous said...

Well Rats,

If you don't send it, how will we ever see if he responds, and in what manner. He might even agree with you!

Gypsydoc

Dromedary Hump said...

Well, I decided to tell him face to face... gently...next week when wife and I shop for cars.

Hopefully I won't be casting pearls of business sense before a swine of a religionist.

I'll be sure to let everyone know his response.

Dromedary Hump said...

UPDATE: Mrs. Hump and I went car shopping weds. At Toyota I asked for Scott...he's off on weds, naturally.

I mentioned to his "team partner" the letter, and that I was disappointed to find religion being mixed with business. He concurred it was in appropriate.
Casually mentioned the same thing to my salesman and the finance guy.

When we go back to finalize the deal after the July incentives come out(looks like wife decided 2012 Camry is much nicer than the 2012 Nissan Altima) I'll try another face to face.
I imagine he'll have gotten an earful before then.

Anonymous said...

I am not a very religious man, but I do in fact believe in god. Also, I happen to be a young car salesman. Everyone on this earth is entitled to his or her own opinions and beliefs, wouldn't you agree? End the end one of our many beliefs will be right and all the others proven wrong. I believe entirely that I will join many others in heaven, you may not and that is okay. As a free thinking man shouldn't you be more tolerant of others beliefs as they are of yours? I do not know you personally, nor do I care to, but I do not believe that a true free thinking mind would be so compelled to shoot down such a simple thing as you have. I understand you may not post this, but you will read it, and that's enough for me. I will probably never see this site again anyways and any rebuttals you may have will fall upon death ears. But I will leave you with this: Give others the respect and tolerance that you would like them to give you, we all have our own individual opinions and believe in different things. It will never change and there is nothing anybody (including you and I) can do to change it. We might as well learn to live with each other and get over ourselves.

Dromedary Hump said...

Anon,

Delusion and rejection of reality, and a dogma that drives people to discrimination, rejection of scientific reality, intolerance and misogyny deserve no respect. It will get none from me.

Those who simply belive the tripe, and do not impose it on others will not ever be the target of my ire.

The articile contained herein speaks to the inapproriatness of infusing ones business / career with religious platitudes that are directed at prospective clients he doesn't know. That this is lost on you speaks volumes of your lack of intellect and/or your depth of religious affliction, the two often being driven by eachother.

Since you won't be reading this, evidently fearful and in avoidance of the reasoned reply you knew would follow I have once again wasted three minutes of my time casting pearls before the swine of religiously induced stupid.